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Mountaineers finish Adirondack Traverse in St. Regis Falls

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ST. REGIS FALLS - After almost 20 days and 217 miles of hiking, biking, and paddling, Gabe Messercola and Ryan Wichelns finished their charitable traverse of the Adirondacks.

Mr. Wichelns and Mr. Messercola worked in conjunction with Big City Mountaineer’s (BCM) Summit for Someone program to take on Adirondack Traverse 2013. Taking part in the Summit for Someone program required the pair to pledge a dollar amount.

Donations go to outdoor mentoring programs, which take inner-city children and bring them to the great outdoors in places like Colorado and Wyoming to hike, fish and partake in other outdoor activities, according to the Adirondack Traverse 2013 website. The goal for this trek is $8,000, and so far Mr. Messercola and Mr. Wichelns have collected approximately $5,500 toward that goal.

The Traverse route took the pair of mountaineers from where the “Blue Line” crosses Route 309 at the southern end of the Adirondack Park, up through the middle of the park, to St. Regis Falls and Dickinson, where the pair was met by Gene Messercola, Gabe’s father. The route was highly physical and required cooperation among the pair of mountaineers and locals across the journey. The pair hiked, biked, canoed and walked, meeting volunteers every so often to exchange bikes for canoes, drop garbage off, and get more supplies.

The trek also required Mr. Messercola and Mr. Wichelns to brave whatever weather came along. They slept in lean-tos wherever possible and suffered through night temperatures as low as 30 degrees.

“It’s taken its toll,” said Mr. Messercola of the trip. “It was a crazy trip, we got eaten up. We met lots of different people.”

“[Big City Mountaineer is] predominantly a Western thing,” said Wichelns, citing this as a reason they worked with the group. “Our future goal is to get it to New York City or Boston. We want to mentor locally.”

Mr. Messercola and Mr. Wichelns are planning to hike Mount Rainier next, as a sort of celebration with other mountaineers who helped raise money for BCM.

The duo also has a goal of hiking all 36 high peaks of the Adirondacks, leaving them with only 10 more to hike to reach the goal.

“[The Adirondack Traverse was a way] to put a capstone on our Adirondack experience,” said Mr. Wichelns.

“It’s a way to end our chapter in the mountains in this area,” Mr. Messercola added. “We always wanted [the BMC charity project and the Adirondack Traverse 2013] to become one project.”

According to Mr. Messercola, Grant Sponable, who was present for some of the trek, plans to make a movie out of the experience.

The pair crossed the finish line yesterday at about 3:45 p.m.

Their goal for fund-raising is to have the sum of $8,000 completed before they head to Mount Rainier in August. To donate, go to http://www.adirondacktraverse.org/.

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